Note From Dan: This is a guest post from Phil Stevenson, who was recently elected District Superintendent of the PSW District of The Wesleyan Church. Phil is a great friend, church planter, and effective leader. He has recently launched an eBook titled The Leadership I, and I asked Phil to tell you a little about the book in today’s post. It’s a great book! 

Michael Jordan has been credited with saying,

There is no ‘i’ in team, but there is in win.[1]

Leadership is definitely a team sport. However, if the team is going to win, leadership must be spelled with an I!


Emphasizing the I of leadership may appear counterintuitive. Leaders are supposed to be selfless. They are to be people who put the good of the team or organization before themselves. They are to avoid self-centeredness. They are to motivate, not manipulate. They are to build community. They ought to instill shared mission and vision. It is not what is best for them; instead it is what is best for the organizational we. How is this attained through The Leadership I?

The Leadership I is not about the leader alone. The Leadership I is about how the leader can enhance her leadership capacity for the organizational we. It is the leader’s ability to grow in key areas that contribute to organizational effectiveness. Leaders who understand and leverage The Leadership I will increase both their personal and organizational effectiveness. The leader who rightly connects with The Leadership I will be a game-changer in whatever capacity she serves.

The Leadership I is not about ego. The Leadership I is not about inward focus. The Leadership I does not use people for personal satisfaction and gain.

The Leadership I begins within the leader and overflows into the lives of the people and the organization she leads. The leader who grasps the leadership “I” will continually grow, consistently change, and regularly challenge the status-quo.

The leader who practices the leadership “I” will resist complacency. The leader who participates in the leadership “I” will never rest at the expense of risk. He will never succeed at the expense of significance. He will never coast on the past at the expense of courage for the future.

What is the The leadership I? It is internalizing, involving, initiating, influencing, and investing.

  • Internalizing is the beginning of The Leadership I. This is the character traits, the inner stuff a leader needs to cultivate.
  • Involving is the leadership journey itself. It is what happens on the path of discovery. The leadership “I” brings others along with them.
  • Initiating positively impacts the organization being led. It is the leader who initiates that an organization is changed and transitioned for greater effectiveness.
  • Influencing is cultivating and mentoring others. This is birthed out of the deep understanding of the necessity of pouring into future generations.
  • Investing is sharing wisdom from the journey. Lessons learned are not for personal consumption alone, but for the community as a whole.

When you make the effort to develop your leadership “I”, you will delight in the impact it will have in the organizational “we”. When you win, your team wins.

[1], accessed February 26, 2013.